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Mayor Gray, District Officials and Rappaport and W.C. Smith Development Teams Break Ground on Skyland Town Center

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mayor Gray, District Officials and Rappaport and W.C. Smith Development Teams Break Ground on Skyland Town Center

Construction Finally Begins on Vital Retail Amenity for Wards 7 and 8

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Councilmembers, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor L. Hoskins and members of the Rappaport and W.C. Smith development teams gathered today to break ground on the long-awaited Skyland Town Center at 2646 Naylor Road SE in Ward 7.

The Skyland Town Center, as originally envisioned by residents years ago, will create a high-quality, destination retail town center in the heart of Wards 7 and 8 that will feature a new urban-format Walmart, neighborhood retailers and restaurants.

“We have accomplished what many said was impossible -- clearing a path to transform this underutilized and blighted site,” said Mayor Gray. “This is a red-letter day for Wards 7 and 8, as Skyland Town Center will bring much-needed amenities to an area that has long been underserved.”

Over a decade ago, the District embarked on a path to acquire and revitalize the blighted Skyland Shopping Center, which for years was poorly operated and never met the retail needs of the residents of Wards 7 and 8. With over 40 parcels to acquire spread out over 15 different property owners and 29 different tenants, residents had little luck with their efforts to coordinate redevelopment of the shopping center on their own.

In 2002, the District, through the National Capital Revitalization Corporation, intervened and began its acquisition of the Skyland site. In the last 36 months, the Gray Administration worked to clear all legal issues and resolve all tenant-relocation concerns in order to bring Skyland to the point of being ready to break ground. The District has invested approximately $40 million in the project for the purposes of acquisition, tenant relocation, property management, and legal fees. District officials have invested in the project in the hopes that it would spur further economic development not only in the immediate neighborhood of the future Skyland Town Center, but also in other parts of Ward 7 and Ward 8.

“Skyland is a prime example of Mayor Gray’s One City vision. After decades of waiting, the residents of Wards 7 and 8 will soon have access to quality retail that now exist in other parts of the city,” said Deputy Mayor Hoskins. “Bringing quality retail amenities and much-needed jobs to this community is what this project is all about.”

Additional key benefits of the project include:

• Providing approximately $65 million in sales and real-property taxes to the District over 10 years;
• Creating approximately 450-500 residential units, with approximately 20 percent of the units reserved for households earning up to 80 percent of the Area Median Income;
• Introducing a new private street system on the property, which will act as the spine for the mixed-use project and create a “Main Street” shopping experience unlike any other in the area;
• Creating an active and exciting streetscape along all major thoroughfares surrounding the center through the inclusion of landscaped sidewalks and café seating; and
• Enhancing pedestrian activity in the surrounding community by undertaking significant transportation infrastructure improvements to foster safe pedestrian and vehicular interaction.